Drupal Articles

Drupal, and the Art of Creating Passionate Users

My RSS reader has somewhere's near 800 feeds at this point. In order to cope, I've for a long time had a folder titled, "Feeds I actually read" (yes, a number of my thunderbird folders are jokes that I crack to myself. Its pathetic...). Anyways, one of my favorites in the folder I actually read is a blog called Creating Passionante Users. One of the more recent entries had a graph that I thought every single drupal user, developer, and advocate should see:

Spec for ZenGarden.Module (Shot in the Dark)

Shot in the dark, I know, but its going to be at least a month before I'll have time to build this correctly. I wouldn't ask if it were not for fear that the idea will loose momemtum without a place for interested folks to get together soon... Plus, I imagine a few folks might understand how useful this module could be. Thus, here's a shot in the dark, and basic spec of how the module is to work:

zengarden.module -- a module that enables an open-source approach to a drupal theme framework, and reusable CSS library. Yes, in many its kind of like the zen garden, but really more like listamatic... Here's how it would work:

Instigating the Gizmo: Our Drupal Theme Framework and Library is Awaiting Your Contribution

Yesterday, I wrote a post called Turning Drupal Themes Upside Down. Tonight I'd like to conclude those thoughts with a call to arms. Its time for us (you know who are you) to form a splinter project. For now I'm just going to refer to it as the Gizmo project. It would be rude of me to name our project before anyone even joined the party! Anyways, here's the basic concept (!$details).

The Goal of Project Gizmo is to create a theming framework that follows the modular, flexible precedent of drupal. The gizmo consists of a core that solves a multitude of difficult CSS/design problems that nearly every drupal site faces (whether they know it or not). In addition, it provides "hooks" and naming conventions to enable quick implementation of  common design, and UI patterns in a generic (read: flexible) way. Finally, gizmo provides a pregenerated set of blank CSS selectors that we the people of gizmo find ourselve commonly using. We shall extend this to encompass module styles as well.

In many ways, we're aiming to create a CMS that organizes and generates styles. The idea is not t build some "grandma can build a webpage" system. Really, we're looking to build a tool that moves drupal theming in a more ruby on rails direction. Developers, and users who are willing to learn CSS are the audience. Screw the folks that think we should build some magic mind reading design creation machine. Lets keep this practical.

Drupal Theme Development Turned Upside Down (part 1 of 2)

KHAN! khan... kha...In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, there is rather odd scene (actually, that movie is one long odd scene...) where the audience is introduced to "the genesis device". At one point during that scene Spock notes that "it's a timeless truth that it has always been easier to destroy than to create."

However, sharing that line from Star Trek is not entirely the reason why I am writing this post. nYou see Spock's somewhat haughty observation fired a synapse that gave birth to this post, and thus it became a "blog-worthy" introduction.

10 Drupal Modules You Can't Live Without

This is Outdated: Updated Version: 40 Essential Drupal Modules (1/4/2010)

Via my contact form, someone asked me to list 5 or 10 of the best drupal add ons. I decided to move away from "best", and rather decided to move to "can't live without". Or to put it differently, without these 10 modules, your experience with the minimial base install of drupal is likely to suck. (in spite of my physics teacher I once had who insisted that nothing sucked, but rather blew...).

The Drupal 4.7 Form API Rears Its Beautiful Head

Last night, I had a rather profound "ah-ha" moments with the new Forms API and php-template. The end result is the first node_form.tpl.php file I've ever written. The screenshot below is of a story form, with all those node options that use to be on the bottom floated to the left in a sidebar fashion.


As drupal is now blessed with this new form API, every single form on the page, be it uploads, menus or taxonomy selections is now available to be thrown around just as is the case in node.tpl.php. Amazingly, it handles AJAX uploads, and node-type and even user variables.

The Performancing Firefox Plugin for Drupal, and the Approaching Wars of Desktop Publishing

John Wilson out at GHASP brought an awesome firefox plugin to my attention: Performancing.


The tool has a great "blog this!" feature;you select text on any page, and after right clicking and selecting "performancing" it automatically pastes the text you selected within blockquotes, and provides a link. In addition it has built in support and integration with del.icio.us, technorati and a myriad of other services.

Drupal Vs. We, the Hairless, Fat-Headed Monkeys With Keyboards

The other night, while working at "my office", I ran into a hipster who I knew from high school. We cycled through the usual cliche selections on the coffeeshop conversation menu: discussing atheism, exsistentialism, and the question "what makes one piece of art better than another", ect. However, the conversation soon turned to an ad-based artsy/alternative publication he had secured some seed funding for.

His goals struck me as difficult; he sought to build a community of volunteer contributors, with revenue coming from ads (two red flags which become a uber-red flag because of their dependencies on each other, imho). I began giving him some advice, and ideas -- and it was at that moment that I realized Drupal, in terms of design, planning, and development isn't an inherently geeky subject, or skill. Looking over my projects over the past few months, it appears to be a platform which attracts the artists and musicians, the progressives, the forward thinking businesses, the world changers -- those whom, in the words of Apple, think different.

Update on Curved Slate Development

For the 4 of you who may have wondered, I did not forgot about my promises of delievering a new super-theme for developers. I've in fact been working non-stop on it. Bugs, new insights, and new techniques have all contributed to the delay. So here's the latest update.

Major changes since last post

1. I've dropped the nifty corner's technique in favor of rico's curved corners. The rico method is far less buggy, does not require additional CSS, is easier to implement, and appears to be licensed under the more flexible Apache 2.0 License.

Introducing Curved Slate: A New Drupal Theme Who's Time Has Come

"Oh... great....", says the audience of drupal users, "another free drupal theme -- that's almost good as another free bag of baby vomit."

So Why a New Theme? 

While there are many drupal themes for us to choose from, let's face it: most of them are either ugly (I'm not naming names), don't work on any browser besides firefox (way too many to list), or are way too complex to be effectively extended and customized (echm: friends-eclectic, and civicspace... I'm looking at you). Not to mention, a large number of themes are merely ports that weren't designed with drupal in mind.


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